Forget what the song says. North Carolina is the perfect place to chase waterfalls. Sorry, TLC. Until I started planning a 3-night road trip with my teenage daughter, I had no idea how many of these majestic beauties there are in the state.
Unlike most of our trips, we didn’t plan to stay in a hotel or cute airbnb. Nope, for this one we rented a sleeper van – called a Scampervan – and planned to sleep in it for 3 nights. My daughter thought living in a van sounded like a good idea for a year (thank you, Instagram) so I thought I’d hit her with a little reality instead.
I mostly mapped out our route and two campgrounds to get us started. I figured we could wing the last night.
We picked up our van in Asheville and loaded it up.
It was cute. Everything had a place. It has to or it all ends up flying around in the back of the van when you turn. Yes, I learned that the hard way.
We headed straight for DuPont Recreational Fores just south of Hendersonville. Our first hike took us to 3 different waterfalls… Hooker, Triple and High Falls. Hooker Falls gets my vote for best swimming hole.
The 14-foot waterfall spans the entire width of the Little River. It’s easy to get to from the parking area and has enough space to handle all the people. Part of the movie The Hunger Games was shot at and around Triple Falls.
Next stop was Brevard. We were going to camp at the Davidson River Campground for the night before a full day exploring. They were warning people about bear sightings. That made the idea of going to the bathroom in the middle of the night a bit of an issue.
We started the day in town… Breakfast at Mayberry’s then a stop at the OP Taylor toy store.
It’s easy to see why the Smithsonian Magazine names Brevard one of the 15 best small towns to visit in 2021. Brevard is actually known for white squirrels (well, they are technically grey squirrels with a mutated gene) but we didn’t see any.
In Brevard County alone, there are more than 250 waterfalls, including the popular and often photographed Sliding Rock. The 60-foot natural slide draws big crowds so go early or at off times to avoid long lines that make you feel like you are standing in line for a ride at an amusement park.
You might have better luck wading in the cool waters beneath Looking Glass Falls just 2 miles down the road on U.S 276. It was a majestic-looking cascade with 94 steps to the bottom. The sound of the falling water is mesmerizing.
Do yourself a favor and stop at the nearby Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. It sounds boring but the NC Trout Hatchery is worth seeing and it’s free. For 25 cents you can feed the fish and they jump like crazy. When a local suggested we check it out I was a bit skeptical. But ALWAYS trust the locals. She was right. It was great. The farm is where the state grows different types of trout to stock public waterways.
Forget what the song says. Do NOT stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to. Time to move this van to the next adventure….